Monday, 18 July 2011

Baby Days... Weaning

I really like weaning.  I love making up the purees, trying out new recipes and filling up little pots of healthy, good, home-cooked food.  I get a lot of satisfaction knowing what I'm feeding my child and seeing my freezer packed with goodies for my baby. 

I have weaned my children at different times, 17 weeks being the earliest and 6 months being the latest.  I have introduced weaning, realised my child wasn't ready and started again later.  I normally start weaning because they've reached 6 months and are needing something extra or they have started waking through the night, after previously sleeping through.  The thought of weaning can seem a bit daunting at first, well to be honest the mess and the clothes being stained orange, but once you get into it, I find it fun.

I start the weaning normally with baby rice or pureed potato mixed with water.  I then introduce a pureed fruit, like apple and a vegetable like carrot.  Its quite easy to do.  Chop up vegetable/fruit into small pieces, cover with water, boil till soft, puree with hand blender/fork, use cool boiled water to consistency or milk if baby needs creamier food and your done.  Freeze the rest in a sterilised ice-cube tray or weaning pots.  As you get more confident try different veg and fruit combos, progressing onto meat.  I used Annabel Karmels top 100 puree recipe book for different ideas and to give my L some more interesting flavours.  Its not an essential book, as there are lots of weaning recipes on the web like, netmums but I like how she presents food for children and how she puts it together.

When baby is 7 months I started to puree the food roughly with a fork to prepare baby for lumps.  I also gave him fromage frais and weetabix.  There is the new baby led weaning program which you can follow.  This is when you lay out different finger foods for baby to try and let them explore/eat at will.  I thought this seemed a bit messy and wasteful of food.  Perhaps I'm quite old school now as puree is how I've always weaned and I enjoy it.  With L I decided as finger food is now encouraged at 6 months, rather than 9, I would offer him cooked vegetables as finger food when we were eating them with our dinner as a snack.  He was content with this.

I am not anti jar based food and have used them.  I still use ready bought jars as well as fruit purees now, when we are going out or we're having a family dinner that can't be tailored for him.  For example;  BBQ mince served with tortilla crisps, or if we're having salad.  Generally, by a year we're all eating the same food.  L is still having his cut into small chunks.

Our general feeding pattern and what we work weaning towards is breakfast at 8am, lunch at 11.30, dinner 4.30.  Milk feeds fit in between this.  Rather than following a book on routines, I just think well this is how we eat as a family and this is how baby will fit eating in with us.  The amount of food and lumps etc increase over the year and the milk becomes less.  Its not something I have really thought about/planned but is a natural progression.

We eat our meals together as a family.  I want to encourage social eating and good habits from the beginning.  We do not use a highchair but a chair that clips onto the table.  I love the ELC water playmat as a table toy whilst preparing the food or for once baby is finished.  Its not noisy and it occupies him.  My husband is often home late or out early during the week so we can't always eat together as a whole family but I make sure I'm with them (eating or not).  When we eat together, we say grace and each child will take a turn in saying this. In the morning we also use this as a time to talk about the day ahead, practise our memory verses and talk about a godly character quality or our family values, with scripture to prepare us for the day.  It is good to have some formal worship time as a family and breakfast time is when it works for us.  Dinner time, we talk and share about our days.  When daddy is home at the weekend we sometimes play 'ask a question' game.  This is where the children can ask anything they like and we go around the table each answering it - B asks us about maths and J might ask everyone their favourite colour.  My children are normal children and don't have impeccable table manners (yet) but we are a work in progress.  I hope through this training, they will learn more about God, good manners and good table conversations

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